73. [LYTLESTONE, William.] [Intelligence of Spain and Portugal arranged in tabular fashion.]
[London, 1582.] Manuscript, ink on paper. Folio (20 x 30cm)  pages in a fine Elizabethan scribal secretary hand, occasional headings in red ink, with added intial manuscript leaf recording presentation of the manuscript by William Waller (1639-1699) to Sir Thomas Chicheley (1614-1699) in the 1670s, first and last pages dusty, very good in full English vellum of the 1670s, boards panelled in gilt.
This Elizabethan spy report in manuscript contains details of Spanish and Portuguese naval and military capabilities as they stood in the year 1582. Prepared at a time when tensions were building between England and Spain, this information would have been of great use in planning the defence of England against a Spanish attempt at invasion. Recording “all the havens in the realme of Spayne, harbors, keyes, creekes … & fffysher townes a longe the coaste … & a fitte note of all theire shippinge barkes & gallies with a note of the burthen of them from 50 to 100 tonnes and upwardes” and the same for the “realme of Portingall”, this is a detailed record of Philip II’s naval capacity. The strength of the Spanish army is also displayed in “the full and whole coppie of the Kinge of Spayne his muster book touchinge the vewe taken through the realme anno 1582”. Together with information on “the yearely revenues of the Kinge of Spayne” and details of the Spanish nobility, bishops and cities, this is a comprehensive overview.
The information was collected in Spain by the spyWilliam Lytlestone and translated into English from Spanish by him. Lytlestone presented his finished report, Intelligence of Spain and Portugal arranged in tabular fashion, to the lawyer and diplomat Dr. Valentine Dale (c.1520-1589). It can now be found in the library of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. This present manuscript, in a fine Elizabethan scribal hand, is a contemporary copy of Lytlestone’s report which no doubt Dale would have circulated with some urgency among relevant members of the military establishment.
Provenance: This manuscript was rebound in gilt-panelled vellum in the 1670s when, as recorded in an additional presentation leaf bound in at the beginning, it was presented by the politician SirWilliam Waller (1639-1699) to Sir Thomas Chicheley (1614-1699), then Master General of the Ordnance.
Waller’s dedication notes that the manuscript was “found amongst some of my fathers papers”. His father, also named Sir William Waller (1598-1668), had been a parliamentarian army officer in the civil war and most probably inherited it from his own father, Sir Thomas Waller (d.1613), constable of Dover Castle and Member of Parliament for Dover.
Clearly even in the seventeenth century the present manuscript was considered an interesting and valuable relic of the Elizabethan era. A copy of Lytlestone’s report is recorded as falling into the hands of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) by Sir Peter Pett (1630-1699) in his The happy future state of England (London, 1688). He notes: “Mr. Samuel Pepys that great treasurer of naval and maritime knowledge … having communicated to me the sight of a paper mentioning that in the whole number of men in the realme of Spain, long since when by secret survey, there were returned a 11 hundred and 25 thousand and 3 hundred and 90 men, (which secret survey I suppose was made some time before the year 1588)”. This number is drawn directly from Lytlestone’s report, but the absence of mention of Lytlestone’s name suggests that Pepys viewed a copy without any indication of authorship, a copy in which the dedication is not present and there is no mention of Lytlestone, as here. Given the friendship of Chicheley and Pepys it seems entirely plausible that Chicheley might have showed the present manuscript to Pepys after a dinner of the kind described in Pepys diary: “To dinner with them to Mr Chicheley’s in Queen-Street in Covent-Garden; a very fine house, and a man that lives in a mighty fashion, with all things in a most extraordinary manner noble and rich about him … I was mighty pleased with it; and good discourse”. With or without Pepys this is a fine Elizabethan manuscript evoking the build up in tension between England and Spain that culminated in the repulsion of the Spanish Armada.
In addition to the original of Lytlestone’s manuscript, housed in the National Maritime museum, there may be another near-contemporary copy, not inspected by us, in the library of Melbourne Hall, Derbyshire, mentioned in The manuscripts of the Earl Cowper (1888) as “1586. “Account of Spain” … gives the names of the harbours with the number of ships in each”.